Today’s Bible readings can be found at this link: Isaiah 61:8-11 and 1 Timothy 5:17-25.

Isaiah 61:11 – For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations.

Earlier this morning, I was visiting with one of our church members. She was showing me her vegetable garden. Her husband has built an amazing irrigation system which collects all the rainwater from their house gutters into barrels, and then it is dispersed throughout the whole yard using a computerized timing mechanism. He invented the whole system and I was amazed at so much ingenuity and productivity which could be used all over the world to grow food. The garden is absolutely filled with vegetables and fruit, all blessed by God through the ingenious distribution of rain water.

Today’s verse from Isaiah has also helped me respond to yesterday’s tragic event in Nice, France, where over 80 children and adults were deliberately mowed down by a terrorist driving a large truck. It is unbelievable and incomprehensible to me how anyone, in the name of their god, could inflict such inhumane and wicked carnage upon innocent people. In the past couple of weeks, we’ve seen these attacks around the world increase. Most people are horrified by these abhorrent events; most of us of different faiths and none at all, just want to live in peace, respect, and love.

My prayer for today is the same one that Isaiah expressed in his ancient prophecy. I pray that the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all the nations. God has given us the seeds of hope, faith, and love that we need to grow such goodness around the world. It’s up to us to keep growing those precious plants in our hearts, homes, churches and communities across the planet. If we become bitter, then our humanity will become harsh. If we preach revenge, then we will relinquish hope. The only way to defeat fear is to focus on love. The only real antidote to terror is to embrace one another and share peace.

Questions for personal reflection

With whom can I share Christ’s love today? What can I do to advance His peace?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, we are once again deeply affected by man’s cruel and vicious inhumanity to man. We feel downhearted and lost, depressed and confused. Help us to find Your way of peace, hope, and love in our lives first, so that we may then share those gifts with other people. In Your Holy Name, we earnestly pray. Amen.

Today’s image is one of John’s drawings of a Poppy Field in France. If you would like to view a larger version, please click this link: Poppy.